Historically, the intertidal seaweeds Fucus serratus (Fs) and Fucus evanescens (Fe) were sympatric only along the western coast of Norway. In the mid-1890s, Fe (monoecious) was accidentally introduced into the Oslofjord. Putative hybridization with the endemic Fs (dioecious) was observed in Oslofjord by 1977 and in the Kattegat and western Baltic Seas by 1998. At Blushøj, Denmark (Kattegat Sea) putative Fs x Fe hybrids were present only when densities of Fe and Fs exceeded 14 and 2 m(-2), respectively. All of the 58 putative hybrids that were collected in 1999 were dioecious and intermediate in morphology. Essentially all (57 out of 58) were reproductively mature, but the oogonia possessed fewer and more variably sized eggs than either parent. Examination of each parental species and putative hybrids with nuclear, mitochondrial and chloroplast molecular markers confirmed the occurrence of hybridization. Furthermore, all of the hybrids possessed Fe-type chloroplasts and mitochondria, indicating that only the Fe egg x Fs sperm pairing was successful in the field. The reciprocal cross of Fs egg x Fe sperm was absent in the field and significantly less successful in laboratory crossings. Asymmetrical hybridization has also been reported for several species of plants and animals.